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Arts & Culture

Weekender: Celebrate The Cowboy, Listen To Some Jazz, Enjoy A Punk Rock Musical

Balcones Heights Jazz Festival

You can enjoy some jazz, celebrate cowboys and cowgirls and enjoy a new take on punk rock … all for free.

The Balcones Jazz Festival kicks off on Friday, and Lorenzo Nastazi says the event continues this year's theme:

"Headliners and opening acts: all women," he said.

Nastasi added the Jazz Festival at the Wonderland of the America's Mall Amphitheatre is all about smooth jazz.

"We open with Elizabeth Mis, who has a wonderful party-ready single who says It's a Girl's World,” he said. “She's played the event before.”

Summer heat won't be much of a problem. The outdoor event cools down at sunset, and the air-conditioned food court at the mall is just inside. The musical night is broken up into opener and a headliner.

“And then we have Jeanette Harris, who is the headliner. And she is described as ‘the scintillating saxtress of smooth jazz’” Nastasi said. “And she did a wonderful cover of Stevie Wonder's 'All I Do,' which hit the Billboard smooth jazz singles chart, from her previous album, 'Saxified.' "

IF YOU GO WHAT: Balcones Heights Jazz Festival WHERE: Wonderland of the Americas Mall WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday COST: Free

Also this weekend, saddle up and head downtown to the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

"On Saturday is our National Day of the Cowboy. It's actually a national day we throw to celebrate the cowboys, cowgirls and vaqueros," said the Briscoe’s Meredith Balzen.

Credit Courtesy of the Briscoe Western Art Museum and Mark Hiebert Photography
National Day of the Cowboy

"There are activities such as stick pony making and barrel racing, and you can make your own bolo tie," she said.

The event also includes food trucks, live music and alcohol. It offers plenty to amuse the whole family, who may also tour the regular museum exhibits.

"The entire museum will be open all day. We'll also be having museum tours and a gallery talk in our Into The New West exhibition," Balzen said.

She said the New West exhibit takes Western art to unexpected and very interesting places.

IF YOU GO WHAT: National Day of the Cowboy WHERE: Briscoe Western Art Museum WHEN: Noon Saturday COST: Free

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center theater feature's something unusual this Saturday.

"It's a national book launch, and it's a performance of Amalia's Chicana, feminist punk rock musical," said publisher Juan Tejeda.

Credit Courtesy Amalia Ortiz
Amalia Ortiz and band

Tejeda says everyone should know more about writer/performer/musician Amalia Ortiz.

"Amalia is very talented and has a distinctive voice in Chicana literature," he said.

This project and performance spring from her oddly-titled book, The Cancion Cannibal Cabaret And Other Songs.

It's a dystopian tale where women have taken the lead role in a brave new world.

"Moving towards a better, and more just society, absolutely," Tejeda said.

Some of her songs take rock and punk standards we know and put new words to them.

"That's exactly what Amalia has done with this play, and I think it's exciting," he said. "This was part of her master's thesis. It's unique in a lot of different ways, and I think the people are going to enjoy it."

The event will be recorded via audio and video for future use.

IF YOU GO WHAT: Concert/book debut WHERE: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday COST: Free

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.